2018 Hero World Challenge leaderboard, grades: Jon Rahm earns second win of the year
Rahm held off Tony Finau down the back stretch for a win to end 2018
Jon Rahm said on Saturday after his third-round 69 that he thought nothing worse than 16 under would win the 2018 Hero World Challenge on Sunday. Well, 16 under would have won it ... if Rahm wasn't playing in the event. Rahm shot a 7-under 65 in Round 4 to finish at 20-under 268 and win the event by four over playing partner Tony Finau, who finished at 16 under following a 69 in the final round on Sunday.
The 65 from Rahm nearly mirrored a 63 he shot in Round 2, which really pushed him into the heart of the tournament. Rahm didn't make a single bogey on Sunday and took advantage of all the par 5s, playing them in 5 under overall.
"I can say that ball-striking wise it's pretty much where I want to be," Rahm told NBC. "It's about as perfect as it could have been today ... I played so solid tee to green."
The victory is his second of the year worldwide and bookends what was a terrific 2018 for him. Rahm also won the CareerBuilder Challenge all the way back in January as well as the Spanish Open in April just after the Masters.
There was a piece of this victory that seemed apropos following the fall Rahm experienced. He defeated Tiger Woods in an extremely emotional match in singles play on Sunday at the Ryder Cup in Paris and now has defeated the tournament Woods hosts (Rahm also upended Woods by 19 strokes as).
"That Sunday with Tiger is still the most emotional, important moment of my golf career" Rahm told NBC. "You can ask Tiger, I pretty much started crying when I was shaking his hand because that meant so much to me. A couple months later, to win his event ... this is really special."
Rahm only made three bogeys and a double on the week in four rounds of nearly flawless golf en route to the victory. It was needed, too, as this field was loaded up with top 10 and top 20 players in the world. Rahm, though, was clearly better than all of them this week, and takes three more trophies into 2019 and what should be a continued ascent toward the No. 1 spot in the world. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2018 Hero World Challenge.
Tony Finau (T2): It was another great week for Finau that unfortunately ended with another finish short of first. He was right in it until the back nine on Sunday when he made a double-bogey six on the par-4 14th hole. I'm always astounded that somebody as big and as hulking as Finau can be so deft with his wedges, and again and again, Finau has proved how feathery his touch can be. I never get tired of watching him play (although he probably gets tired of coming up short). Grade: A
Justin Rose (T2): He's an absolute machine. You can set your watch by Rose finishing in the top 10 in whatever golf tournament he's playing in a given week (if it was possible to tell time by such things). Rose closed with a 7-under 65 to finish T3, one shot shy of reclaiming the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings after Finau wriggled into a solo second finish. That's 25 top 10s in his last 32 starts for Rose. Real numbers! Grade: A
Justin Thomas (T12): I wasn't particularly impressed by anything Thomas did this week, but I wanted to make note of the fact that he shot 70-70-70-70. It's a delight to look at, especially for those of us who love order and symmetry, but Thomas finished 12 back of the winners in his final event of a wildly successful 2018. Grade: B-
Tiger Woods (17th): Woods noted that he came in this week off of an illness he picked up following last week's "The Match" against Phil Mickelson, and it showed in his game. He wasn't consistently bad, but he played three holes over the first three rounds in 7 over with two doubles and a triple. It was enough to put him in an early funk, and he never could shake off whatever offseason rust he's feeling and climb the leaderboard. It will be interesting to see if he tees it up a month from now at the Tournament of Champions. He hinted on Sunday that that was on the table. Grade: C
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, analysis and highlights from Round 4 of the 2018 Hero World Challenge, which you can stream live on fuboTV (try for free). If you are unable to view the updates below, please click here.
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